Local Love: Breathe Free Winter Park

Today’s Local Love is about an initiative, not a place – Breathe Free Winter Park.

Local Love Logo Laura Maddrey

Imagine dining outside at your favorite local restaurant. You’re enjoying a delicious meal with family or friends. Conversation is flowing, the food is outstanding and then suddenly, you get a whiff of cigarette smoke. Instantly, the moment is ruined.

Did you know that only 10% of Winter park residents smoke and less than 8% smoke every day? Yet most restaurants cater to smokers by allowing smoking on patios. Everyone knows that secondhand smoke is unhealthy – triggering asthma attacks, migraines or sinus problems. There are cancer-causing chemicals in cigarette smoke and according to a 2006 Surgeon General’s Report there is no risk-free level of exposure to second hand smoke. It is one reason why outdoor cafés have 5-20 times the pollution as sidewalks.

Breathe Free Winter Park

So what can you do about it? Well, if you like fresh air with your mouth-watering meal, you’re going to love a new effort from Healthy Central Florida (HCF), “Breathe Free Winter Park” (BFWP). HCF partnered with the American Lung Association, Rollins College, the Winter Park Chamber and others to develop this community-based initiative.

BFWP is a new, all-voluntary collaboration of residents, community organizations, restaurants and others to encourage restaurant owners and managers to consider becoming totally smoke-free – inside and out. BFWP is providing materials and planning assistance to help take local establishments from smoky to smoke-free.

Last week when the initiative was announced at a press conference about 20 restaurants had already joined Breathe Free, including Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, Outback Steakhouse, Bosphorus, and others. Breathe Free organizers hope these model restaurants — and residents who advocate smoke-free dining — will encourage other eateries throughout Winter Park and all of Central Florida to go smoke-free.

Breathe Free Winter Park Outback

Of course the wonderful folks over at Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen are a part of this! During the press conference Jonathan Smiga, CEO of Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen, stated”Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen is pleased to participate in Breathe Free Winter Park, we think our guests appreciate a clean and healthy environment in which to enjoy our specialty coffees and espresso drinks — along with our local, farm-to-table cuisine. Breathe Free Winter Park is a breath of fresh air.”

Breathe Free Winter Park Barnie's CoffeeKitchen

If you like the idea of smoke-free outdoor dining, Healthy Central Florida has a suggestion on how you can help –  “Please, very politely, speak up. Let a restaurant manager know that you love their food and their restaurant, but you’d love the experience even more if it was smoke-free – especially during these glorious months with cooler, drier weather.  If non-smokers don’t speak up, restaurant managers don’t know. But always do it politely and patiently, especially if they are busy.”

For a full list of restaurants that already signed up for Breathe Free and to learn more about Health Central Florida, visit healthycentralflorida.org. Restaurant managers and owners who are interested in joining Breathe Free can contact Hamilton Buss at jhamiltonbuss@healthycf.org or 407-644-2300.


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